New Oxfam CEO and Nicola Blackwood MP call on Oxford residents for urgent help with Syria crisis

Posted by Georgia Best Senior PR Manager

14th May 2013

The new Oxfam Chief Executive Mark Goldring will be joined by local MP Nicola Blackwood in giving a very personal briefing to local people about the escalating suffering and urgency of the Syria refugee crisis.  Taking place at Oxfam House in Cowley on Thursday 16th May, the briefing launches Oxfam's Syria Crisis Appeal in Oxford.  This will be followed by a series of local events and fundraising activities in the coming weeks. 

Nearly seven million people are in need of humanitarian help inside Syria, while more than 1.3 million people have fled to neighbouring countries and are in desperate need of food, water and shelter.  Goldring recently visited the crowded refugee camps on the Syria/Jordan border while Blackwood travelled with Oxfam to see the charity's work with refugees in Lebanon.  At the briefing they will be sharing their personal experiences of meeting Syrian people who are trying to survive far from home and what Oxfam is doing to help. 

"The people I met arrived in the refugee camp with virtually nothing, having fled terrible violence in Syria," says Goldring.  "Often their homes have been destroyed and they have no idea when, or if, they will be able to return.  The sheer numbers of people seeking help means it is an increasing struggle to meet even their basic needs such as clean water.  Oxfam is doing everything we can, but we urgently need to raise funds so we can continue our life-saving work." 

Local supporters of the Syria Crisis Appeal include the 02 Academy and the Oxford Oxfam Student's Group, while a major street collection will be taking place across Oxford on Saturday 8th June.  Oxfam is hoping many more businesses and individuals across the city will get behind the appeal.  "Seventy years ago the Oxford community rallied to help those suffering because of conflict across Europe," adds Goldring.  "We hope that today's residents, students, businesses and community groups will show the same drive and compassion to help the people of Syria now."

Nicola Blackwood, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon said: "Having seen the desperate situation that thousands of Syrian refugees are experiencing in Lebanon for myself, I feel very strongly that this is a humanitarian emergency the people of Oxford simply cannot ignore.  I was impressed by how Oxfam has been supporting people - and in particular how they are working to help women, who are the most vulnerable in these crisis situations.  But the scale of the crisis is growing and Oxfam can't continue to help without the support of the public.  I know Oxford community is extremely caring and I hope local people will be moved to get behind Oxfam's emergency appeal."

Donations to the Oxfam Syria Crisis Appeal can be made online at www.oxfam.org.uk/syria or by visiting one of the 20 Oxfam shops across Oxfordshire.  To speak to a member of Oxfam staff about fundraising for the appeal contact Luke Ounsworth on 07846 040859 or email lounsworth@oxfam.org.uk 

ENDS

For further information, interviews and pictures contact Georgia Best in the Oxfam press office: gbest@oxfam.org.uk / 01865 472 375 / 07717 424463


Notes to Editors

The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (later shortened to Oxfam) was formed in October 1942, to lobby the British Government for the relaxation of the Allied blockade of occupied Europe, and to ensure the supply of vital relief to civilians especially in Belgium and Greece.  The following year The Oxford Committee launched 'Greek Week' in the city and raised £10,700 for the Greek Red Cross.    

Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty and suffering.  Since its Oxford-based beginnings, it has grown into a worldwide force.  Oxfam is now working in nearly 60 countries on a diverse range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects.  

Oxfam has one million supporters in the UK.  For every £1 donated to its general funds, 84p is spent on emergency, development and campaigning work, 9p is spent on support and governance and 7p is invested to generate future income.

Oxfam has nearly 700 high street shops across the UK selling donated fashion, books, music, homewares and new ethical products.  It is supported by a workforce of 22,000 volunteers.  

Oxfam also launched the UK's first online charity shop in 2007.

Oxfam GB is affiliated to Oxfam International, a global confederation of 15 independent Oxfams which share the same purpose.

Blog post written by Georgia Best

Senior PR Manager

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